Proof #2 - Statistically analyze prayer|
The fact is, God never answers any prayers. The entire idea that "God answers prayers" is an illusion created by human imagination.
How do we know that "answered prayers" are illusions? We simply perform scientific experiments. We ask a group of believers to pray for something and then we watch what happens. What we find, whenever we test the efficacy of prayer scientifically, is that prayer has zero effect:
If we perform scientific, double-blind tests on prayer, and if the prayers involve something concrete and measurable (for example, healing people with cancer), we know that there is zero effect from prayer. Every single "answered prayer" is nothing more than a coincidence. Both scientific experiments and your everyday observations of the world show this to be the case every single time.
- It does not matter who prays.
- It does not matter if we pray to God, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, Ra or any other human god.
- It does not matter what we pray about.
For example, this article says:
One of the most scientifically rigorous studies yet, published earlier this month, found that the prayers of a distant congregation did not reduce the major complications or death rate in patients hospitalized for heart treatments.
A review of 17 past studies of ''distant healing," published in 2003 by a British researcher, found no significant effect for prayer or other healing methods.
This article from March, 2006 discusses the fact that the same conclusion was reached in another study:
In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.
In this article we find an amazing quote where theologians and religious leaders declare that prayer has no actual effect:
Religious leaders will breathe a sigh of relief at the news that so-called intercessory prayer is medically ineffective. In a large and much touted scientific study, one group of patients was told that strangers would pray for them, a second group was told strangers might or might not pray for them, and a third group was not prayed for at all. The $2.4 million study found that the strangers' prayers did not help patients' recovery.
This is a remarkable example of "positive spin" -- religious leaders are "breathing a sigh of relief" because prayer has been shown to be meaningless. The fact that prayer is a total waste of time does not matter to them. It does not matter that all of Jesus' promises about prayer in the Bible have been proven completely false.
A peer-reviewed scientific study published in 2001 did indicate that prayer works. According to this article:
"On October 2, 2001, the New York Times reported that researchers at prestigious Columbia University Medical Center in New York had discovered something quite extraordinary. Using virtually foolproof scientific methods the researchers had demonstrated that infertile women who were prayed for by Christian prayer groups became pregnant twice as often as those who did not have people praying for them. The study was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. Even the researchers were shocked. The study's results could only be described as miraculous."
This study was later proven to be completely fraudulent. However, everyone who cut out the original article in the NYTimes and posted it on their refrigerators still has that article as "proof" that prayer works.
This article entitled A prayer before dying uncovers another case where a "scientific study" of prayer is unmasked as fraudulent.
It's not just prayer that is ineffective. Not even a hopeful attitude helps. According to this article:
A positive attitude does not improve the chances of surviving cancer and doctors who encourage patients to keep up hope may be burdening them, according to the results of research released Monday.
The dictionary defines the word "superstition" in this way:
An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome. [ref]
The belief in prayer is a superstition. It has been proven scientifically over and over again. When a prayer appears to be answered, it is a coincidence. Quite simply, prayer has absolutely no effect on the outcome of any event. The "power of prayer" is actually "the power of coincidence."
Therefore, as in Proof #1, one of two things must be happening:
- God is imaginary.
- God does exist, but he never answers prayers. Unfortunately, God is defined by the Bible to be a prayer-answering being. The contradiction between the reality of God and the definition of God proves that God is imaginary.
Prayer does not work because God is completely imaginary.
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Understanding the Rationalizations
You can find many believers who will say, "The reason why scientific experiments fail to detect God is because God must remain hidden. He does not answer prayers if he knows that he will be detected."
In order to see the truth, you need to accept that this explanation is silly. If God must remain hidden, then he cannot answer any prayers. Any "answered prayer" would expose God.
The whole notion that "God" must remain "hidden" is a total cross-threading of religious doctrine. On the one hand, believers will say that "God wrote the Bible, God incarnated himself and died on the cross for us, and God answers millions of prayers on earth every day." Then in the next breath they will say, "God must remain hidden." God obviously cannot "remain hidden" and "incarnate himself." These two items are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the explanation that "God must remain hidden" is impossible. As soon as you accept how impossible it is, you can begin to see see that God is imaginary.
In order to see the truth, you need to accept the fact that the scientific evidence is accurate and irrefutable. We have scientifically proven that God does not answer any prayers on earth. Every single "answered prayer" is nothing more than a coincidence.
We can see reality by looking at a simple example. Imagine that the rate of remission for some particularly nasty type of cancer is 5%. That means that if 20 people get this type of cancer, it is almost always fatal. Only one in twenty of the people who get the disease will survive. Knowing this, you can see what happens if we actually analyze prayer:
The fact is, believers who pray die from this disease at exactly the same rate as people who do not.
- 20 believers contract the disease
- All of them have read James 5:15, so all of them pray.
- 19 of them die
- The one who lives proclaims, "I prayed to the Lord and the Lord answered my prayers! My disease is cured! It is a miracle! I KNEW God would answer my prayers!"
- You never hear about the 19 who died. No one ever writes about them in a magazine. "Person prays, then dies" is not a great headline. And since they are dead, you will never hear from any of these people.
- Therefore, if you don't look at all the facts around the "answered prayer," and you only hear about the one out of twenty prayers that succeed, it appears that prayer is successful.
We can see the reality of this situation simply by opening our eyes and looking at the data. But we do have to open our eyes -- We have to look at both the successes AND the failures of prayer to see the reality of our world. When we take a scientific approach and we do look at both sides, we see what is really happening. God does not answer any prayers because God is imaginary.